Breast Resurrection For Breast Cancer Patients - Health Education - DesiMD Healthcare - India

Breast Resurrection For Breast Cancer Patients

Dr.Sathish Chandra B K profile Authored by Dr.Sathish Chandra B K on 25 Jul 2014 - 14:40.


Breast reconstruction surgery is done to rebuild the breasts in the case, when the natural breasts have been removed due to breast cancer. To reconstruct the lost breast(s), a breast mound that comes as close as possible to the form and appearance of the natural breast is used. Many women undergoing breast removal choose to have their breast(s) rebuilt. Although medical, surgical, and radiation therapy treatments for breast cancer have reduced the chances of breast removal, some breast cancer patients still need a mastectomy - removal of the breast(s). Further, some women have their breast(s) removed due to other diseases.

The goal of reconstructive surgery is to create a breast mound that matches the opposite breast and to achieve symmetry. If both breasts have been removed, the goal of breast reconstructive surgery is to create both breast mounds as per the size of the patient's natural breasts.

What are the approaches for the breast resurrection after breast cancer?

In most of the breast cancer cases, the patient has to undergo breast cancer surgery and some additional treatments including chemotherapy, hormone therapy or radiation therapy. The breast can be resurrected after the breast cancer by following approaches:

Radiation therapy: It is the treatment option that uses high-powered energy beams to destroy the cancer cells completely or by keeping the radiation source inside the patient’s body (in case of advanced breast cancer). Unfortunately, radiation therapy has some side effects such as fatigue, rashes at the target site, swelling of the breasts and rarely organ damage.

Chemotherapy: It includes various drugs and medications to encounter the bad effect of cancer cells. Mostly, chemotherapy is preferred to prevent the recurrence or spreading of the breast cancer. It may be given before surgery, in order to cut down the size of the tumor and also in patients whose cancer has already spread to other parts. In addition, chemotherapy can also be given to treat the symptoms and its further complications.The common side effects of the chemotherapy may include nausea, hair loss, vomiting, fatigue and increased susceptibility of infections.

Hormone therapy: Actually, it is a hormone blocking therapy, which is specially used to treat hormone sensitive cancers like estrogen receptor positive cancer and progesterone receptor positive cancers. It may be used to prevent relapse of the breast cancer once it is treated.

What is breast reconstruction?

It is a surgery intended to recreate the shape and the appearance of the breast after removing the breast/s. As an alternative to permanent reconstruction, one can choose to insert a temporary tissue expander immediately after the surgery. This may serve the purpose of regaining shape and appearance up to eighteen months.

What are the considerations to select the right candidate for the breast reconstruction surgery?

Usually, the following factors can be considered while selecting the candidate for this surgery:

  • Amount of breast portion removed during mastectomy.
  • Tissue damage due to other therapies like radiation or due to aging which makes the tissue week and cannot withstand this surgery.
  • Complications underlying other medical conditions.
  • The urge of patient’s to get this surgery done.
  • Patient’s overall health.
  • Medical history.

    What is the right time to perform breast reconstruction surgery?

    Based on the  medical history of the individual patient, the right time for this surgery can be either:

  • Immediate Breast Reconstruction: It is performed at the same time while performing the mastectomy.
  • Delayed breast reconstruction: It is usually performed once the patient is recovered from the mastectomy and decides to regain the breast appearance. This is often considered for the patients who underwent radiotherapy.

What are the types of breast reconstruction?

The purpose of breast reconstruction can be served by using implants, own tissue from other parts of the body, or both.
Breast Implants: The surgeon may choose to insert either silicone or saline implants under the chest muscle onto the chest wall to reconstruct the breast.

Tissue flap reconstruction : Using own tissue:This procedure utilizes one’s own skin, fat and muscle to reconstruct the breast/s'. Tissue flap reconstruction can be broadly divided into two types:

  • Attached flaps: The skin, fat and muscle from the back or abdomen are usually used and placed in the chest to form a new breast.
  • Free flaps: Here, the skin, fat and muscle from the abdomen or buttock are used. The arteries and veins are attached to the blood vessels and / or axiall to the chest wall.
  • Reconstructing the nipple: It is done either by using new breast tissue or by grafting a skin from another part of the body.

What is the time required for the breast reconstruction surgery?

Based on the type of the surgery chosen, it may take anywhere from  one to six hours, and additional 2 hours of the preparation for the surgery.  After the surgery, patients may have to stay in the recovery room for two to three hours.

What is the duration of hospital stay after the surgery?

The duration of the hospital stay depends on the type of surgery performed and the progress of the individual’s health. Normally, on an average, hospital stay after breast implant is one to two days. Whereas, flap procedures may require a hospital for five to six days.

What are the possible risks associated with a breast reconstructive surgery?

Breast reconstructive surgery may also increase the risk of developing the following complications:

  • One of the prominent complication of the breast implants is tightening of the scars around the implant (Capsular Contracture)
  • Excessive bleeding
  • Accumulation of the excess fluid in the stomach (Ascites)
  • Increases susceptibility to various infections
  • Tissue damage
  • Anesthesia related complications

What care should be taken after the surgery?

The following recommendations may help the patients to take better care of themselves after the surgery.

  • Eat healthy
  • Exercise daily with simple moves (as recommended by your expert) to improve range of motions
  • Avoid high impact aerobics
  • Chose to wear comfortable clothes, avoid tight fitting clothes

Reach out to your doctor immediately if you see any abnormal sign like swelling or redness in the breasts.

*Disclaimer: This is not medical advice. The content is for educational purposes only. Please contact your doctor for any health care issues.